2012 — 17 July: Tuesday

My morning cuppa is cooling1 and I'm predicting a little expotition in my near future. The ever-growing list of minor domestic tasks is once again approaching criticality. Plus, it isn't yet raining.

Looking Grimm

I adored the Grimms' fairy tales but I suspect they can be over-studied (and, indeed, over-quantified):

In sum, the Grimm tales contain almost no psychology — a fact underlined by their brevity. However much detail Wilhelm added, the stories are still extremely short. Jack Zipes's translation of "Rapunzel" is three pages long, "The Twelve Brothers" five, "Little Red Riding Hood" less than four. They come in, clobber you over the head, and then go away. As with sections of the Bible, the conciseness makes them seem more profound...
Hitler's government demanded that every German school teach the Grimms' book. After the war, accordingly, the Allies banned the Grimm tales from the school curricula in some cities.

Joan Acocella in New Yorker

Jesus wept.

Study page 43 of this white paper for another, more modern, but equally 'grim' fairy tale. Never mind the trolls, beware the déjà-vu:


"Efficient justice through technology" — now there's a thought to curdle the milk in Judge Dredd's morning cuppa.

Pitfalls of software (part... I forget which)

Back from the shops, and with a soothing cuppa and a peach for my "lemonses", I now wonder why — having nearly finished rebuilding the MP3 lists largely automagically — my semi-obsessive personality prompted me to ask "Where's all my 'Orb'?" as letter "O" is largely undisturbed by their presence.

But wait! There they all are, present and correct, but stashed unhelpfully2 under "T" for "The". It very much reminds me of some of the fun I had in earlier CP/M days, and told Carol about in my New Year email to her in 1989:

Happy new year! A mild, quiet Christmas (during which [in only one evening] — the irony of the "one" will be clarified by a short, explanatory footnote[a] — I wrote my very first genuinely useful program on my Amstrad PCW to merge sorted ASCII text files, thus eventually producing two 87-page printouts (in author and title order) of the Mounce library — approximately 5277 volumes [but with several missing items that I know I loaned out but don't remember who to!])

[a] and laboriously edited the three data files (fiction, nonfiction, and science fiction) pre- and post-merge to globally remove and subsequently reinstate all commas and semicolons; then reworked the code to compare uppercase-only text strings in the way I'd set the data base program to when building record keys in the first place (but long since forgotten, of course) with the result that until I folded the data to upper case before making each comparison to match the collating sequence of the data base program used to output the data files in the first place each occurrence of an initial lower case letter threw the merge sequence out of kilter — what a host of pitfalls for the unwary, and how well hidden were various items in the manual [like exactly how reading in a line of text complete with innocent-looking punctuation from a serial disk file is fraught with tabbing problems (hence the global edits to conceal the punctuation])...

Date: 3 January 1989

The boss of the not-terribly-competent-sounding security firm — whose latest inglorious triumph (in a long string, according to 'Private Eye') has been to fail to equip itself in time with the numbers of trained staff needed to handle Olympic hordes — is explaining to MPs how it's a tricky business bringing lots of items together at the last minute. This, despite 30 project managers dedicated to the 'upsurge' alone, nearly a year ago. "Exploitation, compounded by bad management?" asked Alun Michael. Ouch.

My next 30kg of salt (for the water softener) is safely gathered in, along with two serendipitous purchases:


I think it's time for lunch. [Pause] Well, it would have been, had I not first had to return to Mrs Salty Shop to get her to extract "Tinker Tailor" from its apparently unbreakable3 polycarbonate security packaging. Brian recommended "Tinker" just yesterday, and Mike mentioned the "Pillars" series on a walk many months ago. I have no idea how Ken Follet's book measures up to William Golding's "The Spire", which is the only other title I can recall about building a cathedral in the Middle4 Ages.

Poor Peter!

He phoned a few minutes ago to tell me he and Peter's g/f have completed their house purchase.5 And that moving house is hard work. (Now tell me something I don't already know, son!) I've actually only done it twice — from a rented flat on one side of Old Windsor to a little three-bed semi on the other side (in April 1976), and from that house (in mid-1981) to the four-bed detached house I'm still in here 31 years later.

Last time I checked, the average 25-year mortgage was serviced for about seven years before the upheavals resumed. Not mine. Christa and I were both very happy here.


I've just completed my initial stab at generating a fresh list of my MP3 files. Quite hard work, and some bits of tidying up still to do.



1  While I formulate my thoughts.
2  Although Media Monkey is smart enough to ignore the definite article in Performer and group names when collating its media library list, after I'd exported the list into Office Libre's spreadsheet that, or my foolish decision to sort the raw data from it in Textpad before importing it into my web pages, (or quite possibly both), has proved my temporary undoing.
3  It's a pity Ikea didn't make my — now largely shattered — carpet guard from the same stuff.
4  I've never understood how 'they' know it's the "Middle" Ages, by the way.
5  Their house is costing a mere £330,000 or so more than our first one did. Rather them than me :-)